Right in the middle of what is currentlythe sport’s biggest rivalry, Will Davison has an interesting position in pitlane.
While Davison is teammates with Pepsi MaxCrew FPR’s Mark Winterbottom, his friendship with Jamie Whincup has been welldocumented over the years.
And to add to that, Davison’s older brotherAlex is in the field and part of the four-car FPR team.
But Davison – who sits second in theChampionship points, trailing Red Bull Racing Australia's Whincup – says after years of racing it’s easy toseparate feelings on and off track.
His view on the rivalry, which has been oneof the biggest talking points over the last couple of events?
“I don’t really have much of a view on it,to be honest,” he said.
“It’s nothing new – we’ve been racingeach other since we were young kids.
“You learn to push it under the table whenyou have a blue or disagreement with a driver when it’s something you’ve beendoing every second weekend of your life.
“Whether it’s a mate, brother or teammateon the racetrack, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. You do your joband forget who they are on the racetrack and go out and do the best you can.
“You see two drivers having disagreementsand arguments over a matter – I take that with a grain of salt, to behonest.
“It’s not the first time and it won’t bethe last two drivers have an incident arguing over the same piece of road.Someone feels hard-done by and it is what it is. I have seen it my whole lifeand been in those situations too.”
While it also happens at the back of thefield, Davison believes it’s because the competition is so fierce in V8Supercars the media has grabbed hold of Whincup v Winterbottom and run with it.
“Naturally at the front the stakes are highand the pressure’s there,” he said.
“And with all that pressure, to be on thereceiving end, someone always feels hard done by.
“It’s a fine line between making the rightor wrong move – you have a go and it pays off and you look like a hero; or havea go, contact’s made and you look like a dill.
“There’s very fine margins up the front ofthe field now. The level is extremely high and it’s threading the needle insome circumstances.”
While Davison didn’t comment directly onthe boys’ rivalry, he did say he’s getting a good laugh out of it.
“I look at it with a very differentperspective to the way it is in the media.
“Looking at it purely from a driver’s pointof view, at the front it’s not all as clean cut as it looks and it’s not asamped up as a one-on-one rivalry – both of those guys have plenty of otherthings they are worrying about and dealing with, not just that (rivalry).”
Davison laughed at the idea of driving pastwhile the two are battling with one another.
“I don’t think they’re stupid enough tocarry on and cost themselves points,” he said.
“In Perth they didn’t trade paint when theycould have. I don’t think either of them are that dumb to let it affect theirChampionships – they talk it up, but both are smart and know what isrequired.”
Davison said it was instantly clear whenanother driver was being respectful on track – and when they weren’t.
“We give respect and it’s great when youhave a clean, hard battle.
“I have a good memory of who gives respectand who doesn’t – the majority of the front guys race hard and respectfully,and a few guys have chips on their shoulders.
“I know in my memory bank who are and whoaren’t (respectful racers).”
Often receiving comments from fans about‘taking someone out’, Davison said you couldn’t look like a hero sittingbackwards in the grass, not scoring any points.
“You get hundreds of comments – Ienjoy the interaction with fans, but if you let everything (you hear) affectyou… As much as you love to share your experiences, what’s going on out there(on-track) is another world to what people get to experience.
“You want to win for your fans and can’tlet the negative criticism get to you. It’s all a show – people areone-eyed and that’s healthy. If you let it get to you it’ll zap your energyquickly.”
Davison admitted it was difficult toovercome some of the commentary when he was less experienced.
“Perceptions are a big thing in our sport– often people’s perceptions aren’t right, and you can be on the right endin the sport and on the wrong end.
“More often that not the perception of youor your team can be very incorrect, but you have to roll with it… It’s a fineline between being a hero and making mistakes, or being too conservative,particularly in your early years when you’re trying to make the name foryourself and earn respect.”
Davison says the most important projectionto put out there is being genuine.
“Be yourself – people who try too hard… itcomes across as being not real.
“If you try to drive like someone else,you’ll get caught up in incidents. You know yourself what your style is andwhat works for you.
“You have to listen to yourself and yourown analysis… it’s pretty clear when people are trying to be someone butthemselves or drive like an intimidator.”